Since joining Weight Watchers three weeks ago I’ve fallen into the trap of eating more or less the same thing every night (roast chicken with a green salad) and I’m BORED. This is really silly: There’s an abundance of recipes available through Weight Watchers, I’m usually really creative in the kitchen AND I’m working part-time now and I have ample time to cook dinner. There’s no excuse for boring, uninspired and repetitive meals.
I made this Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken Lentil and Pumpkin recipe this week after a being struck by a bit of inspo following browsing on the Weight Watchers member’s only section. Also, I’d bought a GI-NORMOUS pumpkin from Countdown for $2 and this pumpkin required some serious tucking in. Anyhoo, the result was a warm, hearty, nutritious salad that was packed full of flavour, colour and was ‘viable’ in relation to Weight Watchers SmartPoints. My hubby isn’t on Weight Watchers (skinny, active, healthy bugger) so I’m trying to up the anti on meals that don’t blow the points budget for me and meals that hubby enjoys. Hubby and I both loved this dish, we had it as a main course and, as there was only two people eating it, there was enough the next night for a repeat dinner performance (needless to say the kid didn’t eat this dish. He had ham steaks with potatoes, carrot and pineapple. Sigh).
You can funk the salad up even further by adding fried haloumi, diced feta, also some olives would also be a delicious addition! Or even, for those not on the ‘trying to shrink bandwagon’, chorizo would be a scrummy addition! This recipe, if I do say so myself, is ‘friends-over-for-dinner-worthy’. On that note, I’m taking it sans chicken to my next pot luck dinner as a side salad.
In terms of Weight Watchers SmartPoints I worked this out to be approx 10 points (depends on how much chicken you have - I had one drumstick and whether you eat the chicken skin or remove it: Removing it will be be one less SmartPoint per drumstick)
- 800g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 6-8 chicken drumsticks
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (or use fresh chilli)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 1/2 cup of coriander (use flat leaf parsley if you are a coriander-hater)
- 1/2 cup of freshly chopped mint
- Optional: Couple of handfuls of micro-greens (You could use finely diced spinach or rocket leaves)
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- click here for the recipe - you could also use hummus or even just plain yogurt in place of this.
- 1/4 cup Muhammara dip
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (celsius - and normal bake). Line a roasting tray with baking paper. Place the diced pumpkin on the tray. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and season well. Toss to coat. Bake for 30-35 minutes until starting to brown.
- Cook the lentils in a covered saucepan with the chicken stock until tender. (approx 20 mins) Note: Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size!
- Cook the peas as per the instructions on the back of the pea packet (I microwaved them).
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a large bowl and add garlic, cumin and fennel and toss to coat.
- Heat remaining olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add chicken. Fry until the chicken is well browned on all sides. Add the chicken to the pumpkin that's roasting in the oven: By the time I got to this stage I found the remaining cooking time required for the pumpkin was 15 minutes - the time required for the chicken to finish cooking through! To test for 'doneness': Cut into the thickest part of a drumstick. The juices should run clear and the meat should be opaque throughout.
- Let the chicken rest whilst you assemble the salad.
- Place pumpkin in a large serving bowl/on a platter and add lentils, peas, coriander, mint, lemon zest and lemon juice. Also season well and then toss to combine (use your hands. Add the chicken - we cut ours off the bone and tossed that through the salad, but you could have the chicken on the side too.
- Drizzle the top of the salad with Muhammara Dressing (or whatever you elect to use in place of this !)